Creating a whimsy environment in theory should be easy. Children are naturally curious about their world and want to explore it. However, you will quickly find children also love the allure of screen time. Rather it is their favorite cartoon or game app, getting lost in the virtual reality has become the norm in our society.
According to Great School, in their recent article, Managing Your Child’s Screen Time, we should limit their screen to less than two hours per day. Yet read the alarming stat shared about screen time:
“While most experts recommend no more than one to two hours of screen time (TV, DVDs, computers and video games) per day, most kids are in front of a screen 45 hours per week,” says Katz. It’s important to consider that it’s not just TV but all forms of media that need to be considered when setting guidelines. “Kids need to have time to go outside and play, and pull from other experiences besides the media,” notes Green.
YIKES! Forty five hours is a full time job in our world. Should children really have a full time job in front a screen? NOPE
For children who are under five years old, monitoring their screen time is rather simple due to us controlling the electronics. We can place remotes, electronics and games above eye level and out of their reach. However, once a school age or teenager obtains an electronic the battle to zone out begins. Watching hours and hours of TV is the goal. It’s our job as nannies to limit the amount of screen time for a child.
Keep the child active and engaged. I would suggest the child earn screen time in 15 minute increments. For example in the morning I have the child outside and active for at least an hour. After our play time I will do a craft project or game. After two hours of activity I will allow the child 15 minutes of screen time. During that time I am usually making lunch. Once lunch is ready, the electronic goes off. Even if they grumble and try to negotiate a longer time, you have to stick to the rule of 15 minutes.
It’s important to explain to the child that screen time is not a given. Switching the conversation to what you’ve earned from participating in other activities allows you to have screen time. Rather you are conducting an art project, having water play or playing board games it is essential to let the child know when the next opportunity to use the TV, iPad or tablet will occur.
In the beginning the battle could consist of grumbling, whining or even crying. Be consistent with your expectation, provide fun and engaging activities and the child will come to love your adventures over screen time.
What are some ways you decrease the screen time of the children you care for?